Week of March 4: Wisdom shared a part in the creation of all things
By REV. DOREEN SMALLS
Lesson Scripture: Proverbs 8:22-35
We live in a society where we are inundated with information. There are millions of books that lend us instruction. There is a plethora of websites that offer suggestions. Most of us have people in our lives that give us solicited and unsolicited advice. We are constantly receiving and sending messages, with each sender trying to impart knowledge and wisdom.
Knowledge is good, but there is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. A person can be knowledgeable without being wise. Knowledge can be defined as having the facts, and wisdom is applying those facts correctly to life. We can amass knowledge, but without wisdom, our knowledge is useless.
Wisdom: The Oldest Child
Solomon, the author of Proverbs, is noted as the wisest man in history. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings that teaches people how to live godly lives.
In chapter eight, the author states that wisdom was present at the Creation and works with the Creator. “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work; the first of his acts long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth” (Proverbs 8:22-23). Wisdom predates the creation of the earth, the heavens, and any physical thing. It was created before life itself and was with God when God established the earth’s foundation.
Although wisdom predates creation, it does not predate God. The Gospel of John states, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Word of God is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ was not only with God; Christ was God. Wisdom was brought forth by the will of God.
Daily His Delight
Wisdom characterizes herself as being in relationship with God. “…When he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was his daily delight, rejoicing before his ways…” (Proverbs 8: 29-30). Wisdom accompanies God in creative work. It was by wisdom that God created the universe. She is an expression of God. God is infinite in wisdom; there are no limitations to what God knows and does.
The hymn “How Great Thou Art” is a reminder of God’s craftsmanship and wisdom. Lyrics include, “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made. I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder, a power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul my savior God to thee. How great Thou art! How great Thou art!” This song details the wonderful and extraordinary work of God in the universe.
Wisdom not only accompanies God in creative work, but she also accompanies us. When Solomon was crowned king, he understood that he needed wisdom to perform his duties. Solomon prayed, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong… The Lord told Solomon, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart…” (1 Kings 3:9 &12). Solomon knew that his intellect alone was not sufficient to govern the people. God was pleased that Solomon did not ask for wealth or long life, like most others, but instead he requested wisdom.
In order to lead well and make the right decisions, people need wisdom.
How often do we ask for wisdom in our daily prayers? Do we seek wisdom before a major decision? Do we seek wisdom before we act or speak? Or do we just simply react?
Wisdom for All
The Statue of Liberty has greeted millions of people as they entered the New York Harbor. Oftentimes she is referred to as “Lady Liberty.” Her inscription reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these your homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” She does not stand as a hindrance to block the entrance. Instead, she stands a symbol that welcomes and invites persons to come.
Before Lady Liberty, “Lady Wisdom” extended an open invitation to all persons. “At the highest point in the city; she takes her stand; beside the gate leading into the city at the entrance she cries aloud, to you; O people; I call out. I raise my voice to all mankind” (Proverbs 8: 2-3). Wisdom is a gift from God available to all of humanity. This gift is not reserved for the elite or wealthy but is open to all. She offers herself to anyone who will listen to her.
She directs people to “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Happy is the one who listens to me… For whoever finds me find life and obtain favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:33-35). She encourages people to follow her and to keep her ways. Following her instructions leads to life and favor with the Lord.
Recall a time when you neglected wisdom. What was the result of this decision? Recall a time when you applied wisdom. What was the result?
Rev. Doreen Smalls is an associate director at the Office of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.